Written by Chester Robards, The Nassau Guardian, September 24th, 2021
The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation’s (BCCEC) Chairperson Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson said COVID-19, the ease of doing business, and tax reform are key issues the business body will bring to the attention of the new government as it begins to settle into office and ministers sink into their roles.
Rutherford-Ferguson said BCCEC executives have already contacted key Cabinet ministers appointed to their respective posts this week, and plan to meet with them as soon as possible to discuss the needs of the business community.
She said businesses continue to be challenged by the pandemic and outside of the emergency order, continue to encounter headwinds.
“There are a lot of issues currently stemming from the impact of COVID-19,” said Rutherford-Ferguson.
“We know that businesses… many are still working remotely and that presents certain challenges. Then, there are challenges presented with employees contracting COVID-19 and the in and the out that presents.
“There is this ever-present focus on ensuring that businesses are adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. We’ve seen early on that businesses put up the upfront costs to ensure that not only their staff could operate in a safe manner, but also consumers who patronize their business could be safe.”
She added that the cost of doing business in The Bahamas is atop the list of things to discuss with the incoming administration.
According to Rutherford-Ferguson, it remains expensive to operate a business in The Bahamas with the cost of rent, cost of energy and cost of labor where it currently sits.
While the former government digitized many government services, leading to improved efficiency for companies, she said, there remains many more processes the government can bring online to further assist the business community.
“The digitization of government services has had a positive impact in productivity and efficiency, however, there are so many government services that have yet to be digitized and processes that can be optimized,” Rutherford-Ferguson said.